Guilty Pleasures Sale

Come by for a custom fit!

Come by for a custom fit!

This Saturday we will be at the Drake Hotel taking part in the Guilty Pleasures Designer Sale.

Come join us and indulge in a day of fashion and brunch from 9am-4pm.

The Sale offers 2 floors of fashion, from 20 different local designers including yours truly, fashion shows and a silent auction. We look forward to seeing all you beauties there!

Guilty Pleasures For Web and Posters

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Trunk Show

Last Thursday we hosted our LB Distilled Trunk Show at the FTA fashion showroom in the Distillery District. We had an amazing time! Thank you to all who came out to support and to shop.

A big thank you to Chocosol for providing us with a delicious spread of chocolate samples, drinking chocolate and local, organic fruits! If you want to know more about the amazing Michael Sacco and Chocosol, check them out here and you can ‘like’ them on facebook here

 

LB Trunk Show

Send us off to Haiti in high spirits!

Join us for a social night of ethical fashion, delicious Chocosol chocolate and Haitian reggae beats on Thursday July 19th, 2012.

The evening features our newest garments with select bags added to the growing list of LB designs!

10% off VIP Pricing.

Button Bonus! We are excited to offer a draw to win an LB vest that you personally design!

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

LB Addresses Fashion Focused Voluntary Initiatives

Dressing is such an international affair. Our garments often travel throughout the world before finding home (if only for a short while) in our closets and draping our backs. The cotton may have been grown in Texas before being shipped off to Shanghai where it is dyed, then sent to Hong Kong where the garment was brought to life. The finished product may then be sent to a central hub in Miami before it makes its way across North America to a retail outlet where it is sold at a price much lower than the international treatment it received should allow. So how do we understand this international phenomenon that is our clothing? How do we know how our clothing is made? By whom and under what socio-economic conditions? Did children make the clothing?  What chemicals are used in both the production and processing phases? What are the conditions of the country where the garment is made?

Alternatively, do we each have time to ask these questions each time we buy something? How do you even go about retrieving the answers to these questions? In a perfect world the answers would be simple; garments are made using high quality, sustainable fabrics, by fairly paid, well trained tailors working under ethical conditions. If this is not yet the case, how does one navigate the retail scene? We believe a voluntary initiative that addresses all these issues is the answer. A label or certification that clearly states to the consumer that they are buying something both sustainable and ethical-a label that is trusted and well understood.

In order to address these issues, I have been doing my master’s at Ryerson University for a year now in the Environmental Applied Science and Management Program. And while the program has reaffirmed the more you learn the less you know, I do feel as though some progress has been made-at least in my personal understanding of the textiles industry.

In order to convince myself that going back to school for two years was a worthwhile endeavor I have linked what we are doing at LB with my studies; Sustainable Fashion. I am researching current voluntary initiatives (or voluntary codes of conduct) for the fashion industry to assess strengths and weaknesses to determine the best areas for reform. There exist many voluntary initiatives for the fashion industry, yet none seem to tackle the issues from all aspects. Basically a voluntary initiative is an industry standard or code that companies adhere to on a voluntary basis-FSC certification, Fair Trade, Responsible Care-these are all voluntary codes.

Through research with Ryerson and ongoing engagement with LB we are attempting to decipher a new and innovative way to address the problem of voluntary initiatives in a

holistic and comprehensive way. We have found that current initiatives like the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Greenpeace Detox Challenge, Responsible Care, Fair Trade (etc) address only one or two aspects of the garment industry rather than looking at the entire process. Each of these voluntary initiatives is important as they have helped inform the larger population and the garment industry of areas that need readdressing in the textile industry. They are great starting points-a place to launch forward.

So, what do we propose? We aim to develop an initiative with input from designers, retailers, manufacturers, fiber producers and NGOs. This way we address the entire chain. There needs to be communication all along the supply chain. Designers can have huge input, after all, it doesn’t matter how much tensel or sustainable bamboo is being produced if designers are not using it in their designs. Beyond this, a campaign to increase consumer awareness in order to generate a greater understanding of voluntary initiatives is needed-one that clearly and matter of factly shows how a garment was made-a label/certification that consumers can trust. In this respect we see retailers acting as the proxies for consumers, doing the research on behalf of the consumers.

We leave for Haiti in just over a month for the better part of August. While there we will work again with INDEPCO on new LB designs as well as engage with manufacturers and designers in Haiti to get their input on changes needed for the industry. We are excited to place LB in a broader aspect-to critically look at our production to see where we can improve. We are cognizant of the fact that our garments are part of the international garment sector-our vests would have quite the decorated passport were they people.

Flying to the heart of the Haitian garment industry!

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Our trip is scheduled for Haiti! August 7th through the end of the month will be spent in Port-au-Prince making our new garments at INDEPCO and soaking up the opportunities that await us on our fourth trip!

The garment industry in Haiti has not made the kind of progress that anyone interested in fair labour standards and sustainable business development would hope to see. Local Buttons continues to be solution based, engaging with the challenges of the garment industry in Haiti and its relationship to world fashion. It will be informative to return to Port-au-Prince where we gain insight into the inner circles of the industry as it relates to labour and production inHaiti.

Reading the Better Work Haiti review, reported by the International Labour Organization (ILO), with the support of Canadian and American economic and human resource departments, was quite frustrating.

The fourth annual report was released on April 16th, 2012, and analyzed the progress and/or regression of how 20 factories in Haiti comply with National and International labour and industry standards.

It was unfortunate that no factory complied with all basic international and national standards. Each factory has not complied with several very general standards that should be in place for legal production. This is frustrating because the revitalization of the garment industry was chosen as the main strategy to develop the Haitian economy after the 2010 earthquake.

The standards, as outlined in the report, need to be further developed, implemented, and monitored. This remains to be the greatest challenge of the ILO. The World Trade Organization (WTO) by comparison implements and monitors trade agreements with ease. “People” compared to “goods” have not been protected, it is a situation that has devastated the livelihoods of the working class around the world.

Rather than going into the details of the report, which can be read here

There are a few excerpts I chose from the report to illustrate the awful conditions that Haitian garment workers tolerate. I’ve indicated the page number of each excerpt in case you’d like to read more.

“…workers reporting that they are not able to leave the factory without permission for nearly an hour after normal working hours, as the punch in machine is turned off. In this case, if workers leave the factory without punching out, they do not get paid for the day.” (p.17).

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Image: A Woman sleeps at factory DKDR Haiti, scoring very poorly on its compliance points. P.34

“Management confirmed that when a woman is pregnant, she is paid only for maternity leave even if she becomes sick while pregnant. As a result, women are not getting the same sick leave benefits as men, which constitutes gender discrimination” (p.16)

“Promises of promotions, as well as threats to maintain their employment, were made in exchange for dates or sexual favours. It was stated that if workers refuse to go on dates with their supervisors, they are fired.” (p.16).

“The share of workers currently earning 250 Gourdes after 8 hours of regular work time is 22%…All workers earn a minimum of 150 Gourdes per day.” (p.18) [ 250 Gourdes= $6.00 CAD. , 150 Gourdes= $3.70 CAD]…ummm? From what we learned, and anyone could assume, this is a fight for two inadequate levels of income!

“…workers who do not work overtime do not receive the same wage as other workers in the same module who have achieved the production target.” (p.19)

“Ten factories did not yet install or provide washing facilities in the event of exposure to chemicals” (p.20)

It is a very good thing that this reporting is being done, but not if it doesn’t become the interest of the public. Is it a matter of “tagging” garments with the pictures of physically and emotionally injured garment workers in the same way cigarette packages illustrate cancerous lungs?

That was a whimsical suggestion on my behalf, but more seriously, Local Buttons will continue to function as a movement that a) demonstrates the potential to redefine garment industry standards, and b) develops consumer demand for ethical fashion.

Image So can making them work long hours…

Saturdays at the Distillery

We will be frequenting the FTA showroom in the beautiful and historic Distillery District for the next 5 Saturdays (starting this Saturday, June 16th) from 10:30-3:30.

55 Mill St
Arstcape building #76 Rm 202

We think you should come by and visit us, and of course check out the amazing local, eco and ethical fashions on showcase (and for sale) including those by the LB.

Grab a coffee from Balzac’s or some Soma Chocolate and pop in and say hi!

Media Hype

Check out LB in the media over the past little while, it’s been a busy and fun time for us!

We are working on new designs and new branding, all very hush hush:) but we’ll update with that soon. In the meantime check out our media buzz.

Waldorf Alumni Video featuring the LB starring Consuelo

http://vimeo.com/37692881

LB in NOW magazine

Emily Hunter rocking a LB vest at the Connect Beauty event at CSI in the Annex

Consuelo winning runner up for the Eveleen Dollery award at for the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s Passion for Fashion business worshop series.

LB vests on the runway at the Green Living Show

Kelly Drennan of FTA at the Green Living Show talks about LB and sustainable fashion!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7k5QS7vfNc

Anne modelling a LB vest on CHCH TV in Hamilton to promote the Green Living Show (2:10 on the clip).

http://www.chch.com/index.php/morning-live-blog/item/7596-sustainable-fashion

LB featured on both Trendhunter.ca and socialbusiness.org

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/local-buttons

#12 on the top 40 young social entrepreneur list:

http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/young-social-entrepreneurs#12